Brussels terror attacks trial among major court cases to begin this autumn
The trial for the terrorist attacks of 22 March 2016 in Brussels will begin next month at the start of the new judicial year, report Belga and Bruzz.
A preliminary hearing on 12 September will formally begin the proceedings, with the official trial scheduled to start on 10 October.
Ten people are standing trial: Salah Abdeslam, Oussama Atar, Mohamed Abrini, Sofien Ayari, Osama Krayem, Ali El Haddad Asufi, Bilal El Makhoukhi, Hervé Bayingana Muhirwa, and brothers Smail and Ibrahim Farisi.
Twelve acting jurors will decide the verdict, with 24 jurors in reserve, all to be selected from a total of 600 candidates on 10 October after a preparatory session on 12 September.
The terror attacks, also referred to as the 2016 Brussels bombings, involved three coordinated suicide bombings: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and one at Maelbeek metro station in Brussels. Another bomb was discovered during a search of the airport.
There were 32 civilians killed in the bombings and more than 300 people injured, making it the deadliest attack on Belgian soil since World War Two. The Belgian government declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the event.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks and the group that planned and carried out the bombings was the same one involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks.
Victim statements during trial
Some victims of the terror attacks will speak at the upcoming trial. Whether they choose to do so as a civil party or as a witness will be announced on 12 September.
The first president of the Brussels Court of Appeal, Laurence Massart, who will preside over the assize court, will draw up a list of witnesses together with the federal public prosecutor, the civil parties and the defence.
Other major cases on the judicial calendar include the murder of a police officer, a diamond robbery that took place at Brussels Airport a decade ago and the case of VRT versus television producer Bart De Pauw, who was accused of sexual misconduct and convicted to six months in jail, with a suspended sentence, for stalking five women.
De Pauw is asking for millions in compensation for what he says was the premature ending of a contract in the wake of several accusations of transgressive behaviour.
Photo: The Justitia site in former Nato building in Haren © Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck
The horrific terror attacks happened in 2016. Why has it taken 6 years just to go to trial?